Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How Would You Design a "Future" Dairy Farm?

Imagine what a “Future Dairy Farm” might look like.

 How would you set up a “Future Dairy Farm”? What dairy farm system will be best? Dairy farms in the future must be profitable. Farm businesses must be resilient to increasing risk. Farmers will need to operate within stricter environmental rules. There will be environmental guidelines for farms to meet. Do we understand economic comparative advantage?
A Farm for the Future. A really interesting video. 

How would you design a future dairy farm?

It must be highly profitable & resilient to increasing financial & climatic risk. Your future dairy farm will face tougher environmental rules especially regarding nutrients and river systems. Sustainable farming systems are much more than just nutrient management.

People sustainability is also a very important aspect for your future farm concept.
A need to coach farmers into new ways of thinking

Social responsibility will be as important as milk. Future farms will better care for people working on farms. All farmers will need to acquire a “Social License to operate”. Building better trust with local communities will be essential. Consumers need to trust the food they eat. More urban people want to meet & understand the farmers who produce their food.
Building Trust and Confidence in Todays Food System 

New technology will excite future young dairy farmers. Technology will create smarter communication opportunities. Dairy farms could produce energy and milk. Smart technology is the key to sustainable people management. Smart technology & smart management thinking could reduce the weekly hours on a NZ dairy farm down to 40hrs per week. Why not?
 Farmer Burnout is a serious problem 

Trying to defend farmers & farming practices by arguing with science or attacking the attackers is clearly failing. We need to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability. Farming that is sustainable, ethically grounded, scientifically verified & economically viable.

To breakdown the urban disconnect with farmers will take a massive effort. Newspaper headlines of environmental damage are incredibly destructive to farming PR. Genuine good news from farmers is rarely newsworthy.
 Environmental bad news stories win every time. 
It’s hard to disagree with Dr Mike Joy’s argument though I strongly believe that few farmers deliberately damage the environment. The silent majority are furious to be tarred with the same brush as the offenders who hit the newspaper headlines. Further through the NZ Landcare Trust and Farm Environment Awards we have fine examples of farmers doing an excellent job of improving environmental farm practices.

Future Farm Thinking..let’s be creative and think outside the box!

 So here are some of my Future Farm thoughts/targets:-

OAD milking with cows producing as much as TAD Milking. A real challenge that is different.
 A target of a standard 40 hour week for farmers.
 Low input pasture based system.
 No nitrogen but herbal/clover pastures.
 A dairyfarm self-sufficient in energy.
 Intranet staff management systems like AgRecord.
 Smart Precision Agriculture technology including Apps and cloud based computer systems.
 Low Nitrogen and Phosphate losses off the farm.
 Effluent solids separation.
Profit target of 40% of Gross Farm Revenue.
 Low capital expenditure reduce debt risks.
 Predictive agricultural climate management.
 Regular community access and debate.
Close links with local schools.
Focus on profit not production.
Use Bees & honey production as benchmark for biodiversity on farms.
 More than 6% of farm area in trees, scrubs or flowers.
Young people cueing for exciting dairy careers and farm jobs.
Allow farmers "a real life" with plenty of Quality Family Time.
Lots of Cow Free Days!

How would you design a “Future Farm”?

What farm system would you have on your Future Farm? How would you get a 40 hour week for farmers? How would you engage our urban friends in farming and the food you produce? I’m keen that you comment on this blog!

1 comment:

  1. This article is nice and I like it, I hope you come back to my blog ;)